Commercial and Industrial Biomass
Commercial biomass is on the increase in the United States, thanks mainly to a plentiful supply of local resources. Biomass systems installed for commercial, charity, public sector and non-profit organisations can significantly lower energy bills, reduce CO2 emissions (with all the benefits that arise from this) and benefit from federal and state incentives.
This section will give you all the information you need if you are thinking of investing in biomass for the heating demands of a commercial property. If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to send us a ‘contact us’, ask on our forums or contact one of the state installers listed in our database.
Financial incentives for commercial biomass heating
There are a number of incentives on a federal level for commercial enterprises to install small, medium and large biomass boilers. There are also grant schemes and low cost loans available from the federal funds. Individual states also offer their own incentives such as rebates and tax credits as well as other low interest loans.
Large scale biomass heating explained
A larger scale biomass system designed to produce heat for a number of buildings, be they domestic or commercial, can be run as a business. These systems can help lower CO2 levels through the sustainable nature of biomass fuels and provide a considerable income.
Large scale biomass systems require a substantial amount of space, they can however be housed outside or in a building, provided there is a sufficient access for fuel as most large scale units have large hoppers and fully automated fuelling systems that draw the biomass from large stores nearby.
Although biomass systems and the processes they use produce and release some CO2 into the atmosphere when combusted, it is no more than the amount absorbed by the plants during their lifetime (with the exception of fuel transportation). Biomass fuel is therefore regarded as being a low carbon technology, especially if the biomass fuel used is from sustainable and local sources. The way commercial biomass boilers burn fuel and the biomass fuel they use make them as convenient to use and have installed as fossil fuel boilers are.
This means that your biomass system can help lower your business/organisations carbon emissions thereby improving your carbon accounting report. This can lead to carbon credits and tax relief.
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) refers to a technology that generates usable heat and power, usually electricity in a single process, with heat as a by-product. CHP systems make extensive use of the heat produced whilst generating electricity sometimes in excess of 80% efficiency. This increase in efficiency compared to grid delivered energy is mainly due to the loss of power over distances through dispersion and the inefficient generation methods currently employed in the older power stations.
Through the decentralisation of energy technology, a higher efficiency can be achieved, leading to a reduction in fuel use and also to costs for localised demand. Simply put, if you are powering a factory or even a localised community, you can save money on your energy bills both for heating and electricity through this method. CHP delivers a range of environmental, economic and social benefits.
The main design criterion is that, to make the investment worthwhile, there must be a need for both the heat/cooling and electricity produced by the CHP unit onsite or at a very local level. For commercial buildings and small industrial spaces, a factory-assembled, ‘packaged’ CHP system is appropriate. Some industrial processes are particularly well-suited to CHP, those that use lots of heat and operate around the clock - the manufacture of paper, chemicals, food and drink products, as well as refineries, are among those that can benefit most from CHP.
The general components of a CHP system are an electricity generator, heat exchanger, controls and either an engine or a turbine. These components are packaged together into a CHP unit that can be connected to the heating and electricity systems of the building. Buildings or groups of buildings that operate around the clock like hotels, hospitals, and factories are generally particularly suited to CHP systems.
A trigeneration system can also be used to produce space cooling/air conditioning through the use of a ‘chiller’. Industrial CHP plants are usually designed and built for purpose and vary dramatically in size, however the largest CHP plants rival traditional power plants, delivering huge amounts of energy but at a much higher efficiency. CHP Biomass plants with outputs from 25kW to 1MW per module are available.
It is important to mention the modern/popular method for energy generation through biomass CHP. It’s known as gasification. This method catches 65-70% of the energy present in solid fuels by first converting it into combustible gas (syngas). The gas is then burned in the same way we burn conventional gas for energy.
You can find biomass and CHP installers and suppliers in your state here.